Cantwell supports funding of SR-14 improvements

Washougal is seeking a federal grant

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Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) wants the U.S. Department of Transportation to consider funding a project that would make some changes to the State Route 14 Corridor in Washougal.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Cantwell requested the FASTLANE grant program application be “fully and fairly” considered.

“Investment in projects like that proposed by the City of Washougal signals that ports and communities of all sizes deserve the support necessary to safely and efficiently move locally made products around the globe,” she wrote.

Washougal has applied for $11.5 million in federal funding. Port of Camas-Washougal Executive Director David Ripp has written a letter of support, to go with the city’s grant application.

State funding, in the amount of $7.5 million, could pay for the construction of roundabouts at 15th and 32nd streets. The money could also fund an environmental and options analysis to explore various solutions for a second phase of the project to construct a connection near 27th, and possibly other alternatives along the corridor.

Washougal City Administrator David Scott has said the two roundabouts would cost an estimated $6 million. That would leave $1.5 million for an options analysis on 27th.

Some Washougal and port officials want the roundabouts to improve access to the port by enhancing commercial truck and regular vehicular traffic, for development near Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail and the Steigerwald Commerce Center.

The USDOT could make funding decisions for the FASTLANE grant program, created by Cantwell, as soon as a new Secretary of Transportation is in place. President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Elaine L. Chao to the position.

Washougal Mayor Sean Guard said the city is honored to have Cantwell’s open support of this grant request.

“Washougal has been working hard to answer our funding needs for major road projects that will bring investment and jobs to Washougal, while at the same time providing for safer and more efficient transportation corridors,” he said. “We are very hopeful the Department of Transportation is supportive of this project as well.”

Ripp said the transportation project would provide jobs and improve safety along the corridor.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has developed seven conceptual alternatives that could improve access on SR-14. The options were available to view during an open house in October 2016.

WSDOT is using the information gathered at that open house, as well as from an online survey, to determine project priorities and develop design options. The options will be presented to the public for additional comments during another open house Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m., in the Port of Camas-Washougal office meeting room, 24 S. “A” St., Washougal.

Construction of the SR-14 improvements is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019.